July 28, 2014

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Editorial
Eating Michelle’s lunch PDF Print
Saturday, June 07, 2014 8:00 PM

WASHINGTON — To hear tell, the mean ol’ GOP is waging war on Michelle Obama and, brace yourself, America’s children.

Got it?

The newest war on women/children relates to the first lady’s well-intentioned but disastrous school nutrition program, otherwise known as the Dumpster Derby.

First to good intentions:

Kudos to Obama for recognizing and trying to address childhood obesity. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until these little human pillows reach adulthood and then, assuming their hearts hold out, advanced age. Assuming, too, that our bottom-line bureaucrats haven’t begun recycling high-maintenance humans by then. Might want to keep an eye on the Soylent Green market.

No, I’m not suggesting death panels. I’m employing hyperbole in the service of a point, the necessary clarification of which highlights our mind-numbing politics and our nation’s diminishing sentience.

The first lady’s “Let’s Move!” program and her focus on whole foods (as opposed to fast) and water instead of sodas have been welcome developments. Who better to bring needed attention to such issues? Obama is merely expanding her maternal focus to include all those public school kids whose mothers apparently have forgotten how to make a sandwich. Or whose fathers have forgotten to say, “Get those plugs out of your ears and make friends with the lawn mower” — or whatever its urban comparable.

Last Updated on Sunday, June 08, 2014 7:08 PM
 
Strive to make a difference PDF Print
Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:00 PM

Another school year is drawing to a close. In the next few weeks there will be words of wisdom offered to this year’s graduates.

Parents, teachers and representatives from all walks of life will provide encouragement as these young men and women take their place in the world.

At a few universities, graduating seniors used social media to protest against a few proposed commencement speakers that ardent activists didn’t want at their respective schools for political reasons. Several speakers decided not to appear where they were not welcome.

Getting the hook were such noteworthy graduation-day speakers as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Christine Lagarde of France, the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund.

Seems strange that students who treasure free speech and robust debate would use their new-found social media powers to disrupt a rite of spring.

Here are some words of wisdom handed down through the ages that are good for people of all ages:

- Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older he will remain upon it. The wise man is glad to be instructed. Making poor excuses makes us weak; making tough decisions makes us strong. We usually make a mistake when we make an excuse.

- Cheerfulness is the Golden Rule in action; kindness is the essence of love in action. A cheerful heart is good medicine; a broken spirit causes one to be ill.

- Losers look for excuses; winners search for answers. And, diligent study and intelligent work contain the maps to discovery, the charts to achievement and the blueprints for success.

- The loser misses opportunities by whining, pining, declining and reclining. The winner makes opportunities by going, sowing, growing and knowing.

- The only thing heavier than carrying a chip on our shoulder is carrying a grudge in our heart. And, enthusiasm and confidence fuel the fires of achievement.

- The highway to happiness is helpfulness; the pathway to peace is prayer; and the gateway to gladness is generosity. And, we create our tomorrows hour by hour; we mold our futures moment by moment, day by day.

Last Updated on Friday, May 30, 2014 8:50 PM
 
Seniors beware: Proposed Medicare changes can limit access to life-saving health care PDF Print
Friday, May 30, 2014 8:00 PM

BY DR. TERRY O’TOOLE

Chair, Insurance Subcommittee

Ohio Gastroenterology Society

Gastroenterologists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the digestive system. We treat patients with life-threatening illnesses, including colorectal cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer and cancer related deaths in the United States.

The risk of developing colorectal cancer significantly increases in patients 50 years and older. This means that Medicare eligible patients are much more susceptible to this cancer. Early detection through colonoscopy screening is an effective tool in decreasing the death rates from colorectal cancer. If colorectal cancer is detected, curative surgical resection can improve survival rates. More advanced colorectal cancers will require the use of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Even though early detection and better treatments have reduced the death rates from colorectal cancer, this progress is in jeopardy because federal lawmakers have plans to cut Medicare reimbursement rates for a wide range of therapies, including cancer treatments. If enacted, these cuts could leave thousands of Ohio patients without sufficient access to the life-saving treatments they need. Cuts already in place have meant that many community cancer clinics are not recouping their costs to purchase and administer chemotherapy drugs. Additional cuts will only make the situation worse.

Since 2003, doctors who administer these sophisticated treatments purchased the medications and were reimbursed according to the average sale price (ASP) of each drug plus another six percent. Because these medications are difficult to ship, store and require office staff to administer, the six percent add-on was intended to cover those costs. Generally, it did – but just barely.

Last Updated on Friday, May 30, 2014 8:48 PM
 
The DATA Act: A win for the American People PDF Print
Saturday, May 24, 2014 8:00 PM

BY U.S. SENATOR ROB PORTMAN

 

Over the last couple of weeks, something remarkable happened in Washington. Congress passed a bill, and the President signed it. That we were able to see the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) break through partisan gridlock and become law speaks to what this legislation can accomplish for the American people.

The DATA Act was the result of a bipartisan, bicameral effort to significantly upgrade the fiscal transparency provided by USASpending.gov. Even in today’s information age, finding out how the government spends our taxpayer dollars is not as easy as it should be. The DATA Act will shine a light on our government’s finances and will help us to weed out wasteful and abusive spending, a necessity at a time of record debts and deficits.

The DATA Act builds on what we have learned since Congress passed the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act in 2006, a piece of legislation I was tasked with implementing as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The DATA Act makes it easier to compare federal spending across federal agencies by requiring the establishment of government-wide financial data standards. It also strengthens transparency by requiring agencies to supply monthly updates to USASpending.gov and increases the quality of that data by adhering to uniform standards that promote consistency and reliability. Critically, the DATA Act empowers agency Inspectors General and the Government Accountability Office to hold agencies accountable for the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of the data they submit to USASpending.gov.

Of course, now that we have passed the DATA Act, we must remain vigilant in ensuring that it is fully implemented. The DATA Act gives the Treasury Department and OMB 12 months to craft new data standards that are uniform, flexible, and adaptable – the necessary inputs to allow the system to function. I am sure there will be setbacks. But that is why we have to start thinking about these issues now. If we fail at this first step, a great many of the DATA Act’s potential benefits will be delayed or perhaps lost all together.

 
Honor all veterans on Memorial Day PDF Print
Saturday, May 24, 2014 8:00 PM

PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

By Byron McNutt

 

Memorial Day is a time to honor those men and women who fought bravely and made the greatest sacrifice one can make to defend liberty - their lives.

Too often, we take for granted the ideals for which our ancestors fought. It may be easy to forget because only 6 percent of Americans younger than 65 have served in uniform.

We must constantly remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be an inconvenience for us to take a few minutes on Monday to honor those veterans.

In all, more than 1.2 million Americans have died in wars since our country was founded. Millions more were injured. They were the sons and daughters, grand-children, cousins, nieces, nephews and parents of tens of millions of people.

Who will remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to the cause of justice, freedom and democracy if not those who live under the protection of these great principles?

While Memorial Day is for veterans of all wars, we are paying special tribute to the men and women, mostly in their 80s and 90s, who served in World War II more than 70 years ago.

In short order, the special tributes will fall to veterans of the Korean War and to the Viet Nam War. As these noble warriors march quietly into eternity, they don’t ask for your praises, they only ask to be remembered.

World War II was about more than the maps, dates and places taught in schools today:

- It was about the 17-year-old boys nearly freezing to death in a foxhole and awakening to hear the rumble of tanks as a massive German offensive began.

- It was about praying that your plane, perforated by enemy bullets and shrapnel, could somehow limp across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to safety.

- It was about overcoming gut-wrenching fear to charge a machine-gun bunker after watching its fanatical defenders massacre your comrades.

- And it was about searching among the dead for your closest friend and wondering “Why him and not me?”

They were ordinary men and women, many of them just children, thrust into extraordinary circumstances. They bore the burden of defending freedom and our way of life, not just for us but also for most of the world.

They did it for their country, they did it for their ideals, and they did it for their buddy in the next foxhole. And thank God for us they did it so well.

Today, we have the best-trained, best-equipped fighting forces in the world. The free world looks to America to police the world and protect them from evil forces.

As we’ve learned the last 15 years, massive power alone will not win the war. It still takes men and women willing to put their lives in danger. They deserve our unwavering support and gratitude.

 
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